• DAPP Malawi is in 2018 celebrating 23 years of active involvement in development work with communities through out the country

  • DAPP is implementing 17 projects within education, health, agriculture and community development in 25 district that span across the country's three regions

Namibia's success in the fight against HIV

(Adapted from www.bbc.com) By Vauldi Carelse BBC Africa, Namibia - 1 December 2018

Harvey Davis comes to open the gate to his dusty, windswept compound in the remote part of northern Namibia.

"Welcome, welcome, it's been so long since we've had visitors," he exclaims at the two health workers.
The 79-year-old summons his wife, Ruth Nasidengo, who is 40, from their home. She emerges with two babies, clinging to each arm.
This is the front line in Namibia's war against HIV, where a data-driven on-the-ground approach has helped it become one of the most successful countries in tackling its spread.
The red-uniformed health workers are field officers, who report to a troop commander, who in turn is under a division commander. Rather than guns, their weapons are a small plastic table and a cooler bag filled with ice packs and HIV tests.
Leontine Iipinge and Maria Johannes have walked more than 3km (2 miles) from their base in the Oshana region to visit the couple.
The initials TCE, meaning Total Control of Epidemic, stand out in bold letters on their shirts. It is a programme run by a national NGO, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP Namibia).
The field workers are two of more than 200 TCE health workers serving a population of nearly 182,000.
Mrs Nasidengo, a mother of twins, has been living with HIV for over a decade and has been a client of TCE for two years.
But this visit is about her husband as he is about to get his first home HIV test.
The ice packs in the cooler maintain the correct temperature for the rapid tests.
With his 11-month-old daughter, Dora, sitting on his lap Mr Davis watches as Ms Iipinge unpacks and disinfects her instruments and pricks his finger.
"I'm not worried," he quips, "but it sure looks like Dora is."

Harvey Davis Was Happy To Be Tested By The Health Workers

Harvey Davis Was Happy To Be Tested By The Health Workers

In Namibia Organised Groups Of People With HIV Provide Essential Support For Each

In Namibia Organised Groups Of People With HIV Provide Essential Support For Each

Detective work

As the 15 minutes tick by before the result is known, Ms Iipinge explains how testing the partners of people with HIV helps contain the spread of the virus.
Back at their base in Oshakati town, they compile data of all people known to be HIV-positive and then set about tracing their sexual partners to establish their HIV status.
The rapid test looks for HIV antibodies in the blood and the results are indicated by stripes appearing in the window of the device.
As Mr Davis and his daughter watch, a single stripe appears showing that he is HIV-negative (two stripes indicates a positive result). But he is still referred to a hospital as he needs to be given drugs that reduce the risk of contracting the virus from someone who is HIV-positive by 90%.
TCE field officers have worked in this area for 14 years.
They have built community trust and respect but not everyone can be easily persuaded to take an HIV test.
The next stop for Ms Iipinge and Ms Johannes is about 12km away and they are heading to the home of Lucas Angula in the Evululuko township.
He found out that he was HIV-positive just last month, but it had taken his wife, Matilda Ipandula, 10 years to convince him to take the test:
'We would always fight and argue whenever I brought up the issue of HIV testing with my husband," she says.
"He refused to listen and that's why I asked our neighbour to get involved. It was difficult but it had to be done."
The neighbour, Emirita Kuutondokwa, now forms part of Mr Angula's trio, a support group made up of someone who is HIV-positive and two others.
He says their encouragement has helped him deal with his diagnosis and take the drugs that help contain the spread of the virus.
Support is a key ingredient to the success in containing the spread of HIV here.
Close to Mr Angula's house, a small knot of people have gathered under a Marula fruit tree.
They are singing a song, in the Oshiwambo language, about how they are the lucky ones.
This is what is known as a Community Adherence Club - a group of 12 people who are all HIV-positive.
They take turns to collect medication from the clinic 20km away. This frees the remaining 11 to get on with other things and avoids clogging up the clinic.

It Takes 15 Minutes To Get A Result After The Blood Is Taken

It Takes 15 Minutes To Get A Result After The Blood Is Taken

Lucas Angula Left Had To Be Persuaded To Take The HIV Test By His Wife Matilda Ipandula Right

Lucas Angula Left Had To Be Persuaded To Take The HIV Test By His Wife Matilda Ipandula Right

'Not about the money'

After seeing to her clients, the division commander, Ms Johannes, joins the group to shake off the tension of the day as they dance around the tree.
"When you get into this, it's first about the job and the salary but as you stay it becomes about the people and the passion," she says.
"I've had field officers here who have only stayed for five months because they feel what they get as a salary does not compensate the time they spend at work but the ones that stay, they have passion to be with the people, to work with the people, to improve the lives of the people."

Newly released data by the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) shows it is this community-centred approach that has helped Namibia exceed some of the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAids in 2014.

The figures measure:

  • The percentage of people who are thought to be HIV-positive who know their status
  • The percentage of people who know their status who are taking antiretroviral drugs
  • The percentage of people who are taking the drugs who have an undetectable level of HIV

For Namibia, the figures are 86%, 96% and 91% respectively.

Maria Johannes Says Her HIV Prevention Work Is Inspired By Trying To Improve The Lives Of Namibians

Maria Johannes Says Her HIV Prevention Work Is Inspired By Trying To Improve The Lives Of Namibians

Source UNAIDS

Source UNAIDS

'No time to relax'

Its neighbour, South Africa, the country with the highest number of HIV infections in the world, scores 90-68-78.
But Health Minister Dr Bernard Haufiku says now is not the time for complacency.
"There is a real possibility that we will be able to reach our target by the date set by UNAids [2020], we just have to give it a little bit of a push because we are almost there, just a few percentage left. We need to focus, especially on the prevention campaigns in the field, targeting young people that have not been tested."
Namibia used to have one of the highest HIV-prevalence rates in the world, but in the past 15 years, the number of new HIV infections has halved.
But the high infection rate among young women aged 15-24 continues to worry health officials here.
The health minister adds that on the 30th anniversary of World Aids Day, on Saturday, he will be encouraging young men to get tested and treated.
In Namibia, it seems to be the older generation, men like Mr Davis and Mr Angula, who are setting the example.
Ms Johannes hopes that at some point she will no longer have to deliver bad news to her clients.
"I remember there was a day in 2015," she says.
"My first six clients of the day all tested positive. Telling six people they're HIV-positive, without a break… it's a day I'll never forget."

DAPP creates space for AGWY to improved knowledge and access for SRHR

July 2017 to June 2018, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Malawi in partnership with National AIDS Commission (NAC) implemented Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project targeting private secondary schools and tertiary education institutions in Mulanje and Thyolo districts.

Known as “Creating Space for Adolescent Girls and Young Women to improve Knowledge and Access for Sexual Reproductive Health (SRHR) services, the project supported the government’s efforts in curbing transmission of HIV and unwanted/unplanned pregnancies through improving knowledge and access to SRHR services.
This project aimed at increasing the knowledge levels, skills and positive attitudes on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) through innovative life skills education training, participation in club activities, sharing information using social media, accessing counselling, treatment, care and support services from health care workers, matrons and tutors to Adolescent Girls and Young Women.
The target was to reach 600 AGYW in 30 private secondary schools and 10 tertiary education institutions through career and motivational talks. 30 matrons and 30 youth clubs in SRSH were trained in SRHR issues and in turn 1350 AGYW were reached through career and motivational talks and 3,193 girls got registered in youth clubs where they were able to discuss SRHR topics.

Some of the youth reached in the AGYW Hope in schools project

Some of the youth reached in the AGYW Hope in schools project

Secondary Students that benefited from the project

Secondary Students that benefited from the project


The project also known as Hope in Schools, provided comprehensive HIV and AIDS interventions by promoting HIV prevention through increasing access and utilization of HIV and SRHR services among students in secondary and tertiary education institutions, training 19 peer educators to foster proper adolescent growth and development and orienting Parents and Teachers Associations members to take a lead in modifying harmful cultural practices.
The project confirmed that some girls take poverty as an excuse to engage in risky behaviors. The project had 9 girls in the clubs on record who confessed that they are in school because of boyfriends/sugar daddies who are supporting them with fees and school materials in exchange for sex. Some parents/ guardians marry off their daughters because they claim to have failed to financially support them in their education.
The project further noticed that private secondary schools are dominated by male teachers who inevitably are club patrons. In most cases girls were uncomfortable to approach or be so free with the patrons whenever they had personal issues (30 male teachers vs. 11 female teachers).
One of the project beneficiaries Caroline Lozeni from Thuchira said, the project came at a time when girls need empowerment to make right decisions so as to achieve their goals. She said after attending one of the trainings organized by the peer educators she was inspired to encourage her peers to remain in school, to prevent unwanted pregnancies and build their self-esteem so as to be at par with boys in education and other activities.
Other core activities in the project were training of health workers in provision of Youth Friendly Health services, formation of clubs in schools, orientation of tutors and district stakeholders which included the District Youth Office, District Education Office, Director of Planning and Development Office, District Health Management Team and the District Executive Committee.

 

DAPP HOPE in schools project orients youth on SRHR

DAPP HOPE IN SCHOOLS PROJECT ORIENTS YOUTH ON SRHR

Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Malawi in partnership with the National AIDS Commission (NAC) is implementing a Hope in Schools project called Creating Space for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) to Access Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights services which aims at promoting adolescent girls and young women to be assertive and understand their rights when making reproductive health related decisions.
The project is being implemented in two districts of Mulanje and Thyolo in the southern region of Malawi targeting adolescent girls and young women in private secondary schools and tertiary education institutions.

Youth that attended the orientations

Youth that attended the orientations

Youth targeted in the project

Youth targeted in the project


On the 15th of May, the project carried out orientation for community youth clubs to strengthen the provision of comprehensive youth friendly health services in the youth clubs.
The club members were also oriented on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) prevention; club management; adolescent growth and development; and access to youth friendly health services.
This orientation will enable the club members to assist their fellow young people in finding solutions to issues regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights services.
The Thyolo district Youth Officer Doreen Mbendela was one of the facilitators during the orientation exercises. Mbendela recommended DAPP for implementing the project which is encouraging youth to seek health services. She urged the youth club members to pass on the knowledge to their fellow youth so they can also benefit.
The orientation was attended by 81 youth club members with 60 being female and 21 male. The project is targeting 600 adolescent girls and young women in 10 tertiary education institutions and 30 private secondary schools who are benefitting directly and 6000 indirect beneficiaries in Mulanje and Thyolo districts.

 

DAPP Reduces Diarrhoea Cases at MlumbwiraSchool - Case Story – LCSS Lilongwe

“We used to register 15 diarrhoea cases in a month but now we rarely hear that a learner has contracted the sanitation related disease,” recollects Odeta Beleko, a standard 3 teacher at Mlumbwira full primary school in the area of Traditional Authority Chitukula in Lilongwe.

DAPP Malawi through Let Children Stay in School (LCSS) project with funding from the Roger Federer Foundation introduced the sanitation and hygiene programme at Mlumbwira full Primary School in 2015 with an aim of reducing cases of learner absenteeism due to illnesses that comes with lack of sanitation and hygiene.
Through the programme, DAPP encouraged the school to use locally available resources to make hand washing facilities.
Considering the high incidences of diarrhoea the school was registering and knowing the importance of having hygiene facilities, the school did not hesitate to initiate these facilities using tree poles and empty plastic bottles. Each facility is made by erecting two poles, with another polefixed across the top of the two poles. A plastic bottle filled with clean water is hanged at waist level of a grown up person together with a container of laundry soap. These hand washing facilities are visibly seen at each door-step of every classroom at Mlubwira Primary School.

A teachers shows a learner how to wash hands with soap

A teachers shows a learner how to wash hands with soap

A bottle of water suspended outside a classroom for washing hands

A bottle of water suspended outside a classroom for washing hands


“Learners who visit the toilet wash their hands before entering my class. When I notice that a learner has visited the toilet and enters the class without washing hands, I ask that learner to go outside to do so. Once the pupil washes their hands, they are then allowed to enter the classroom. But for little ones who cannot manage to wash hands on their own, I help them.” Says Beleko.
Beleko who has been teaching at Mlumbwira for 3 years says her learners are now used to practising hygiene and that the school has managed to reduce cases of diarrhoea.
“Things have improved now. Before installing these hand washing facilities, diarrhoea among my learners was common but now the incidences have reduced by half. I teach my learners to always wash their hands with soap after visiting the toilet because one can catch germs while in the toilet, so they wash their hands thoroughly with soap to let those germs go away.”Concludes Beleko

DAPP Malawi pledges continued support to Government

Today, April 7, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Malawi joins the international world in commemorating the World Health Day. The day is an initiative spearheaded by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Each year, the day is given a theme to highlighta subject of major importance to global health. This year’s theme is “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere”, It focuses on ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship.

HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malnutrition are examples of the diseases that require global attention to ensure universal global health coverage is achieved.In Malawi, according to the National TB Control Programme, there were an estimated 17,000 cases of TB in the year 2015, and approximately 54% of these were HIV positive.As of 2017, The HIV prevalence rate was 8.2 percent, according to the Ministry of Health.
Malnutrition is also a widespread problem in Malawi, particularly amongst pregnant and lactating mothers and their infants.The UnitedNations Children’s Fund indicates that around 46 percent of children under five are stunted and 21 percent are underweight.
These diseases are so devastating because among others, they reverse decades of improvement in life expectancy, educational progress and economic growth. For instance, a World Bank report estimates that HIV and AIDS may reduce Gross Domestic Product growth by 1 percent a year in some sub-Saharan African countries, due to the continuing loss of skilled and unskilled workers in the prime of life. 

DAPP Member Of Staff Testing A Couple For HIV

DAPP Member Of Staff Testing A Couple For HIV

DAPP Field Officer Distributing Food Items To TB Patients In Thyolo District

DAPP Field Officer Distributing Food Items To TB Patients In Thyolo District

Recognising these challenges, DAPP Malawi has worked with the Malawi Government since 1998 to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of Malawians by implementing projects aimed to fight TB, HIV and Aids, Malaria and Malnutrition.
DAPP began its work to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1998 through itsHOPE project which established community HIV resource hubs and activity centers for everyone in a given community. Building on this work, DAPP launched a Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) programme in 2007 to combat and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. TCE combinedcounseling, field-testing, education, and community mobilization approaches. It reached more than 1.400.000 people with HIV information and tested 500.000 people for HIV.
The organisation also implemented the Total Control – TBprogram in the Mining Sector in 3 districts; Chiradzulu, Phalombe and Neno. It aimed out to prevent the spread of Tuberculosis amongst key population namely; miners, ex–miners, their families and communities. The project aimed at increasing TB case finding amongst 15.000 mining sector key population and access to information on TB/ HIV and AIDS prevention, testing and counselling, care and treatment to presumptive TB patients.
Currently, the organisation is implementing the Integrated HIV/TB Project in Thyolo district, Malawi which aims to prevent the spread of TB by identifying TB patients through microscopy, conducting HIV testing and ensuring care for those infected by TB. It has also scaled up its interventions in eliminating the epidemic in the districts of Chikwawa, Machinga and Zomba

Furthermore, the organisation supported the Government’s efforts to reduce child stunting and; maternal and child anaemia in Blantyre and Chiradzulu districts. This is achieved through enhancing maternal and child nutrition service delivery at community level and by strengthening existing local development committees.Since 2013, DAPP’s nutrition efforts have reached more than 400,000 people with information about food, nutrition and child feeding practices.
On this World Health Day, DAPP Malawi pledges to continue supporting the Malawi Government in ensuringthat all Malawians can access essential quality health services in the areas of HIV and Aids, TB and Malnutrition without facing financial hardship through the continued development of innovative tools and approaches of eliminating the diseases.

 

Members of Humana People to People

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Contact DAPP Malawi

DAPP Malawi
Plot No. BE 314, Salmin Armour Road
Ginnery Corner, Blantyre

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